Warm sunlight seeped through the curtains and permeated the living room. This solar energy chased away the cold air lurking within the room. The fresh air circulated within the room like a dainty spirit reporting in for the start of another great day. It tried to tell the master of this house how going outside is a great idea.
But, for the master of this place, this cheerful and positive vibe didn’t sit well with him. It felt more like an annoying alarm clock. The sunlight is already giving his half-exposed buttocks a sheen that wouldn’t lose to the luster given by spotlights in museums. As a result, the owner had to wake up no matter how hard he tried to keep sleeping.
Wu Yan walked out of his room with tears at the corners of his eyes. It’s evident that he’s still half-asleep even now. He patted his cheeks but the yawn spell just wouldn’t stop coming. At least, his clothes aren’t that messy and his hair is not too messy. Otherwise, he would have looked like a very messy person.
He sat down on the sofa and he opened up his player interface. With a few clicks and drags across the air, he materialized a set of breakfast with black tea to finish up this light meal.
No matter how long you buried your butt in the bed, in SAO, you don’t have to worry about smelling and feeling like crap because your virtual body wouldn’t secrete sweat, urea, or any other waste material. Brushing your teeth and washing your face is also redundant. A player would have to make his own toothbrush and manufacture his own toothpaste because those things don’t exist in this game.
Pouring himself a cup of tea, he picked up a stack of paper as he started going through both his food and the information available to him.
Information is very important in this world. Without enough data, a player would risk more than just game progress. Players who are still stuck on the lower floors fear the day where information about clearing stops rolling in.
Information trading and brokerage spawned due to this inherent need for reliable and accurate information. Information brokers usually earn better than specialized sub-job players. They just have to get good at information gathering and deliver it fast enough to their clients. They don’t have to worry about proficiency levels and the likes. It’s a simple job, granted, the player needs to know his business.
This information can be sold in the form of stacks of papers that can be materialized at the behest of the client players. It’s like a newspaper, with this, the players can make informed decisions. Wu Yan also bought newspapers to know about the general trend of the player base and big news. Plus, these newspapers are cheap.
He scanned the document quickly and he mused to himself.
“They cleared the 73rd floor, huh?”
He rubbed his chin in amusement. He finished up his breakfast with a bitter smile.
“Got to hand it to the raid group members, I assumed the monsters inside the labyrinth would have given them a tougher time…”
With only a little more than a quarter of the 100 floors left, the end of the game looks like it’s not that far away.
As the players climbed higher and higher, the monsters grew in levels. The monster on the higher floors had an aberrant algorithm that can surprise a player when he’s not prepared. The attack sequence is also getting very complex. Fighting monsters on 70+ floors became increasingly risky and hard.
Even Kirito with all his Beater knowledge couldn’t help but complain incessantly about how his solo journey is coming to an end. He reckons he would need to join a guild sooner or later.
Aside from Kirito, Wu Yan is probably the only true solo player left on the frontline.
Fortunately for Wu Yan, he is still having it easy when it comes to farming and clearing. Without needing Dual Blade, he can still bulldoze his way through the labyrinth like a typhoon. Zipping through scores of monsters with his healing fairy, Wu Yan couldn’t empathize with the other players’ troubles.
He killed the boss of the 72nd floor without relying on Dual Blade. For now, Wu Yan couldn’t see what is so hard about killing easy monsters.
He thought the raid group would need some time to adjust to the difficulty posed by the 73rd floor. He took it easy as he waited for them to find the Boss room. He miscalculated and look where that got him.
“Maybe they were inspired by my previous battle result?”
Wu Yan pursed his lips. He threw the stacks of papers back onto the table and he assessed the quality of his tea while thinking about other stuff.
“In the original work, Kirito discovered Heathcliff’s identity earlier than planned on the 75th floor, and he brought about the endgame sooner than Heathcliff had planned. Without Dual Blade, Kirito’s relationship is also distant compared to his relationship in the original work. This should be enough to get him off Heathcliff’s case, right?”
Wu Yan is worried for a good reason. With the 73rd floor cleared, the 74th floor comes next and after that would be the 75th floor.
“The chance of Kirito catching on is very tiny so I shouldn’t be so worried…”
He looked outside his window and he laughed.
“I think Lis is also taking his mind off the matter. He is probably too busy to bother with frontline clearing events, I think?”
Kirito recalled the Ragout Rabbit on the 74th floor that Kirito hunted down in the original work. This weak monster dropped the super rare food material, Ragout Rabbit’s meat.
“S-class food material…”
Wu Yan’s eyes burned up with passion. He has a ton of rare food materials stored away in his inventory, but, so far, he hasn’t tasted food cooked from S-class rare material before.
In the original work, there was only one such instance of this material being dropped. He’s not sure if there are any more of these after the 75th floor, but, that’s not important. Since he’s here anyway, he might as well hunt it down.
Wu Yan couldn’t hold himself back anymore. He stood up and he headed for the door.
Aincrad, 74th floor, outside the labyrinth.
With Heaven Gazer strapped to his back, his black coat flapped in the wind while he looked around to detect the creature he’s looking for.
In the original work, it isn’t specifically stated where a player can find this monster. Wu Yan remembered that Kirito discovered the creature on his way back from the labyrinth area.
That Ragout Rabbit is probably a rare spawn but for that juicy S-grade food material, he’s going to try his luck. Moreover, he also has enough time to kill.
Enjoying the quiet woods and the song of the birds and insects within it, he marched along with the natural world at his own pace. The serene environment also provided him with a very detection range of a little under a hundred meters radius.
He walked in circles, he explored the place over and over, he’s so familiar with the area that he can make a map if he wanted to but he still couldn’t find that damned Ragout Rabbit. He was prepared for this but the disappointment still dampened his spirit.
Wu Yan got more and more annoyed when time slowly ticked on.
“Maybe I should wait for Kirito. If I trail him then…”
He thought when suddenly, a noise stopped him.
“No way, I am that lucky?”
He turned towards the source of the sound and a rather fuzzy rabbit entered his sights.
Wu Yan grinned. He made a beeline for that creature.
Like a lightning bolt, he charged at the rabbit without a care for anything else. The rabbit got the scare of its life as it tried to escape by leaping away. A hand was already there to catch the creature. Its trajectory was predicted ahead of time and escape is only a beautiful illusion. The rabbit jumped straight into its captor’s hands.
Squeak squeak squeak.
Wu Yan ignored the Ragout Rabbit’s pitiful cries. It struggled hard but it was powerless in Wu Yan’s grip. Wu Yan continued laughing out loud at his latest achievement…